MA Applied Corpus Linguistics

The University of Birmingham was an early pioneer in corpus linguistics and has been at the forefront of this field for over forty years.

Theories derived from studying corpus linguistics are changing how we view language from grammar to phraseology and here at Birmingham we are well known for our theory-led approaches and impact on language teaching and dictionary development.

The MA in Applied Corpus Linguistics is a flexible programme that allows you to study corpus linguistics applied to other language areas, such as teaching and learning or discourse analysis. The programme combines a range of core modules and optional modules to ensure that you develop a solid foundation in the discipline area whilst also having the flexibility to pursue your own specific research interests.

You will complete six taught modules and a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice, with one-to-one expert supervision.

There are three core modules:

  • Introduction to Corpus Linguistics 
  • Research Methods in Corpus Linguistics 
  • Advances in Corpus Linguistics 

You will also choose three optional modules that can focus on a chosen area of application; see module list below. 

Why study this course

  1. Excellent reputation - The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics is one of the leading centres for the study of Corpus Linguistics in the UK. Many leading figures in corpus research have worked here in the past including Tim Johns, John Sinclair and Wolfgang Teubert.
  2. Outstanding teaching - members of staff within the Department offer expertise in the use of corpora in various fields, such as English language teaching, historical linguistics, literature, grammar forensic linguistics, language processing and discourse analysis.
  3. Flexibility – the variety of modules on offer will allow you to specialise and study areas of the discipline which interest you the most.
  4. Access to fantastic resources - Students at Birmingham have free access to the 450 million word Bank of English corpus, and to the hardware, software and data resources held at the Centre for Corpus Research. You will also have access to the resources such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work to help with transitioning to postgraduate studies or if you are returning to the world of academia.
  5. Join a vibrant and active postgraduate community – with conferences, seminars and social events there will never be a dull moment within the Department.


You will study three core modules: 

Introduction to Corpus Linguistics

This module introduces you to the concepts and techniques involved in current qualitative corpus research, including corpus investigation software and the presentation and interpretation of corpus data, especially concordances and collocation. There is an emphasis on the relationships between corpus data and theories of language. You will be expected to carry out a small-scale corpus-based project of your own design, using monolingual or bilingual corpora.

Research Methods in Corpus Linguistics

This usually includes statistics, use and design of programs, corpus collection and research project design. The module content is flexible to cater for the needs and interests of individual students.

Advances in Corpus Linguistics

This module places corpus linguistics in the wider context of discourse studies, contrastive linguistics, social (particularly media) studies, CDA and language philosophy. It aims to contribute towards helping you to appreciate the contribution corpus linguistics makes to linguistics in general.

You will also choose three optional modules that can focus on a chosen area of application, from a range which includes:

In the autumn term - 

  • Describing Language
  • Discourse, Culture and Communication
  • Language and Literature: Key Topics in Stylistics
  • Second Language Learning and Teaching
  • Social and Multimodal Aspects of Communication OR Social and Psychological Aspects of Language
  • Syllabus and Materials Design

In the spring term - 

  • Business English
  • Cognitive Approaches to Discourse Analysis
  • Cognitive Linguistics and Language Learning
  • Computer Assisted Language Learning
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • English as an International Language
  • Issues and Approaches in English for Academic Purposes
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Language and Gesture 
  • Language and New Media
  • Language and Politics
  • Language, Style and Identity
  • Language Teaching Observation and Practice
  • Narrative Analysis in Film and Fiction
  • Teacher Training

 Please note that availability of optional modules may vary from year to year.

Related staff

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17:

  • Home/EU: £7,200 full-time
  • Overseas: £14,850 full-time

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

We usually require an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in Applied Linguistics, Linguistics, English Language or another relevant subject (e.g. Translation Studies, TEFL/TESL, English Literature, Communication Studies). Appropriate work experience will also be taken into consideration.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

As an English language student, you will be able to benefit from having free access to the hardware, software and data resources held at the Centre for Corpus Research.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).

Related research

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham?s English Language and Applied Linguistics postgraduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, particularly in relation to verbal and written communication. They also develop crucial skills in organisation, time management, analysis and interpretation of information.

Over the past five years, over 92% of English Language and Applied Linguistics postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our graduates enter roles for which their programme has prepared them, such as translation, interpreting or teaching; others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including journalism, marketing, publishing and media.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.